Village Halls Week: 22-29 January 2019

Village Halls Week is a new initiative started in 2018 by Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE) – Pett Village Hall is a member of the Sussex Branch of ACRE. The week is an annual celebration of the village halls and other community buildings, which exist at the heart of England’s rural communities. The aim of the week-long campaign is to champion the diverse range of buildings which make up the 10,000 strong network and promote the sheer volume of services they offer. ACRE say this is an opportunity to learn more about the groups, organisations, individuals and businesses who are making use of these buildings week in and week out.

In 2019, the week runs from Tuesday 22 January to Monday 29 January. Whilst the Pett Village Hall Management Committee does not plan any special events during that week, the Committee thought it might be useful to produce a very brief summary of the range and number of events that take place there during the year to give a flavour of what goes on – perhaps more than many in the village realise.

The hall, either the main hall or the Catharine Hollman Room, or both, are in use every day of the week from Monday to Friday and are often booked at the weekends. There are increasingly very few days during the year when the hall is not in use. During weekdays, the hall can be used by up to half a dozen groups in one day. There is almost always more than one booking each weekday.

 There is a wide range of regular activities at the hall which take place most weeks during the year. These include Pett Older People’s Project (POPP), Flowerpots (toddlers’ playgroup), Badminton, Weight Watchers, Pilates, Dance Class, Keep Fit, and Pole Dancing. Other regular users include Short Mat Bowls, East Sussex Gauge O Railway Group, Yoga, Shamanic Healing and Gongs Sound Bath – and now Tai Chi. On the first Wednesday of each month there is usually a coffee morning, which now includes the Community Library Service.  There is a doctor’s surgery at the hall twice a week.

At the weekends, and occasionally on weekdays, the hall hosts various events including children’s parties, wedding receptions – five are already booked for 2019 – birthday and anniversary parties, dances, concerts, fashion shows, exhibitions, funeral receptions, craft fairs, jumble sales – the list goes on. In 2018, the hall was also the venue for the Chairman of East Sussex County Council’s annual tea party.

In addition, a number of societies meet in the hall on a regular basis including the Pett Women’s Institute, Gardening Club, Wine Tasting etc. It is of course also the venue for the meetings of the Pett Parish Council and the Pett Village Hall Management Committee.

The hall is naturally very popular with residents of Pett, but a considerable number of bookings are also made by residents and societies from other towns and villages, especially Hastings and St Leonard’s. There is a differentially priced hiring charge whereby residents of Pett Parish pay a lower fee than those from outside the parish. The Committee at their meeting on 7 January agreed to hold the prices at the current levels for the coming year.

The schedule of bookings throughout the year is now available on Pett on the Net at https://www.pettnet.org.uk/booking and the necessary forms for making bookings, along with information sheets relating to hiring the hall, are available on the website.

The feedback the Committee receives about the hall is always favourable, and the comment is frequently made that it is the nicest village hall for miles around. The availability of ample parking is also a big plus.

The current Committee and the users of the hall have the vision and sheer hard work of those who helped establish the hall at the beginning of this century to thank for its success. Given its increasing popularity, if you are thinking of booking the hall for an event in 2019 get cracking, as available slots are fast disappearing. Three new week-end events for this year have already been booked since 1 January.

The hall is nearly 20 years old now. Here’s to another 20 years and beyond of success for this valuable asset which is the centre of the community of Pett and Pett Level.

Pett Village Hall Management Committee